Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Confessions of a wedding bartender, part I

As a bartender for wedding receptions, you think you've seen it all.  Then somehow, each week the wedding guests always surprise you.  Let me tell ya, I could write a book.   Wedding receptions typically start out the same.   First on the scene is almost always the cute elderly folk, slowly strolling in with their walkers and canes.  But from there, its anyone's guess on what the night has in store.   From the mundane, "lets go to bed early" wedding to the, "we are going to party like this is our last night on this earth" wedding - you just don't know what is going to happen.

Today's wedding tale occurred a few weeks ago at the number one rated public golf course in the state and my wedding employer, Ridges at Sand Creek in Jordan.  

Walking into the wedding hall with my tuxedo shirt and bow tie, I hear a female co-worker announce that Tommy Kramer, former NFL Vikings Quarterback, was out on the course golfing.  Not only was he golfing, she exclaimed, but she had kissed him.  On the lips!  Whoa ho!  The 40 year old married woman was beaming.  Well that's kinda cool I thought.  It's not too often that anyone of any notoriety comes to Jordan.

After setting up the bar, my bartender friends settle into our cramped but cozy spot behind the bar and start dishing out mixed drinks and tap beer.  

Later dinner is served and the teenage bus boys and girls frantically work the tables to fill water glasses, and clear dishes.  A couple hours pass by, and this wedding is turning into your standard wedding reception.  I mention to my bartender friends, that the last month of weddings has yet to produce many water cooler stories.

Enter Tommy Kramer

"I think we have our story." I said to my co-workers as I nodded towards Two-Minute Tommy.

Those Minnesotans who are old enough to remember Two-Minute Tommy, remember that he liked to have his share of adult beverages.  Today was no exception.  Tommy was drunk as a skunk and he was crashing this small town wedding. 

And the wedding guests were loving it!  "Look - it's Tommy Kramer!"  "Hey, Let's get our picture taken with Tommy Kramer!"  Tommy was shooting the breeze with everyone and posing for pictures.

It wasn't long before Tommy came to the bar and ordered a drink.  We asked him what he was doing here in Jordan.  He replied that he lives in Texas, but hates to sweat when he golfs so he comes to Minnesota to golf.

Then out of the blue the M.O.B (mother of the bride) yells, "EEECKKK!!! Tommy Kramer!  Tommy Kramer!  You have to dance with my daughter!"  She proceeds to grab him by the hand and run him to the dance floor where the bride and her new husband are dancing alone on the dance floor.  The newlyweds are gazing lovingly into each other eyes when mom and Tommy burst onto the floor and cut into their dance.  The bride had a confused look in her eyes that screamed, "Who is this guy?  What is going on?" While the husband just stood there with a blank look on his face..

Mom watched with a big smile while others went up to take Tommy and the new bride's picture while the two of them awkwardly danced.   I'm positive the bride had no idea who Tommy Kramer was, but just went with the flow anyway.

The wedding guests loved him.

Why?  I think its because we admire people who have done the extraordinary.  Playing for the Vikings is extraordinary.   What I don't get is, why does Tommy Kramer, choose to waste the opportunity with his notoriety?  His legacy, unless he changes, will be a life of drunkeness.   It's been 20 years since Tommy has played football.  2 decades wasted in more ways than one.


  1. Why, you ask, does Tommy Kramer choose to waste his life? Well, there is actually no connection between (a) having the ability to throw a football like a bullet and (b) being a good human being who will have a solid life full of genuine love and service. In fact, the two things are quite contradictory.

  2. No argument there Bob. Maybe the question should be, how come Tommy is so self-absorbed?